Our congregation is called Redeemer Lutheran Church. Obviously “Redeemer” is one of the titles of our Lord Jesus. But it is not a word we often use in English. So, its meaning is sometimes lost to us. We do say that we redeem coupons for example. This means that we are exchanging the coupon for an amount of money that will be taken off what we are buying.
The verb to “redeem” and the word “redemption” have similar meanings in the Bible. It often means to buy back someone who is owned by someone else or something else. It also often means making a slave free. God redeemed His people from their slavery in Egypt. He freed them from Pharaoh’s tyranny.
Christ came to serve us by giving His life as a ransom for many, which means paying the price to buy us back, to redeem us (Mark 10:45; Matthew 20:28). Zechariah, John the Baptizer’s father, rejoices that the birth of his son as a prophet, will prepare the way of the promised Messiah. He rejoices because “the God of Israel has visited and redeemed His people” (Luke 1:68) and saved them from their enemies and from all those who hate them. The prophetess Anna speaks of Christ “to all who were waiting for the redemption of Israel” (Luke 2:38). Jesus is our redemption or liberation (1 Corinthians 1:30). In Luke 21:28, we will raise our heads up before Jesus comes because our redemption is going to be very close. In that context, it means that we’ll be freed from the evil powers of this world, persecution and sin. To put it simply, redemption or being redeemed means liberation or being freed just like it does in Exodus 6 when God promises to redeem the Israelites out of Egypt. In Galatians 3:10-14, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law because we did not keep it all. He died on the cross of the death we deserve because we transgressed Law, and thus freed us from its curse and punishment. God our Father, out of love for us, sent His Son born of a woman, to redeem us, to free all those who were under the Law (Galatians 4:4-5). Being freed from the tyranny of condemnation, we are now made sons and daughters of God. We were enslaved to sin and guilt and did not care to obey God’s Law, but Christ redeemed us (freed us) from that slavery and made us free to serve Him and be zealous for good works (see Titus 2:14). In Romans 3: 24, our redemption means that we are freely justified through faith alone in Jesus, that is, declared non-guilty and free from our slavery to condemnation. In Romans 8:28, we look ahead to the redemption or liberation of our bodies when they will be transformed and filled with God’s love and divine life. In Colossians 1:14, God, the Father has redeemed or delivered us from the domain of darkness, which are all the demonic powers and the devil himself and has transferred us to the kingdom of His Son.
Luther, in his Small Catechism, sums up the meaning of redemption while he alludes to all these Bible verses and especially to 1 Peter 1:13-26. He says explaining the second article of the Faith (Creed):
“I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead,
lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.”
Now you know why we call our church Redeemer Lutheran!!!
~ Pastor Jason
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